Detecting Alzheimer's disease biomarkers with a brief tablet-based cognitive battery: sensitivity to Aβ and tau PET

Alzheimer's research & therapy

Alzheimers Res Ther. 2021 Feb 8;13(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s13195-021-00776-w.


BACKGROUND: β-amyloid (Aβ) and tau positron emission tomography (PET) detect the pathological changes that define Alzheimer's disease (AD) in living people. Cognitive measures sensitive to Aβ and tau burden may help streamline identification of cases for confirmatory AD biomarker testing.

METHODS: We examined the association of Brain Health Assessment (BHA) tablet-based cognitive measures with dichotomized Aβ -PET status using logistic regression models in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia (N = 140; 43 Aβ-, 97 Aβ+). We also investigated the relationship between the BHA tests and regional patterns of tau-PET signal using voxel-wise regression analyses in a subsample of 60 Aβ+ individuals with MCI or dementia.

RESULTS: Favorites (associative memory), Match (executive functions and speed), and Everyday Cognition Scale scores were significantly associated with Aβ positivity (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.75 [95% CI 0.66-0.85]). We found significant associations with tau-PET signal in mesial temporal regions for Favorites, frontoparietal regions for Match, and occipitoparietal regions for Line Orientation (visuospatial skills) in a subsample of individuals with MCI and dementia.

CONCLUSION: The BHA measures are significantly associated with both Aβ and regional tau in vivo imaging markers and could be used for the identification of patients with suspected AD pathology in clinical practice.

PMID:33557905 | PMC:PMC7871372 | DOI:10.1186/s13195-021-00776-w